All BHEC original videos below are also posted on the BHEC Vimeo Page: https://vimeo.com/bhec
L’Chaim 2019: Honoring Holocaust Survivors From Generation to Generation
Featuring the Magic Shtetl Klezmer Band, under the direction of Alan Goldspiel; Cantor Jessica Roskin; Special musical entertainment arranged by Keith Cromwell, Executive Director, Red Mountain Theatre Company, including Caleb Clark, Tracy Winborn, the Red Mountain Performance Ensemble; and more!
Memories from Home
Presented as part of L’Chaim 2019.
Alabama Holocaust survivors talk about their memories of home.
L’Chaim 2018, Honoring Joel Rotenstreich
Featuring the Steel City Men’s Chorus. Special musical entertainment arranged by Keith Cromwell, Executive Director, Red Mountain Theatre Company, including vocalists Caleb Clark, Abijah Cunningham, and Jessica Roskin. Including performers from RMTC’s Conservatory and more!
James A. Grymes, author of “Violins of Hope”
A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit, Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of Amnon Weinstein, the Israeli violin-maker who brings these inspirational instruments back to life. Author James A. Grymes, Professor of Musicology and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte shares his work.
L’Chaim 2017, Honoring Cathy O. Friedman
Featuring special musical entertainment arrangement of RMTC’s “Fiddler on the Roof” and favorites Abijah Cunningham, Amy Johnson, and Kristen Sharp. Also featuring the Steel City Men’s Chorus.
Names, Not Numbers
A project of the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School whereby students learned about the Holocaust from survivors and gained skills in interviewing and documentary film making.
Joanna Epsztein Brzezinska Sedlis, Holocaust Survivor
Joanna was born in Czestochowa, Poland. She spent time in the Czestochowa Ghetto until she fled with her mother to Warsaw and lived just outside the ghetto wall as a Christian.
Interview November, 2016, Birmingham, Alabama.
L’Chaim 2016, Honoring Betty A. Goldstein
Featuring music by Ray Reach and Cantor Jessica Roskin; Scenes from “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” featuring drama students from Benjamin Russell High School; and A Teacher’s Perspective by Dr. Dominique Linchet, Alabama School of Fine Arts.
What We Saw: In the Words of the Liberators
Written in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps, “What We Saw” was inspired by the first-person testimonies of two liberators from Alabama: J. George Mitnick, the father of Ronne Hess, who wrote a letter to his family in 1945 about his experience as a liberator; Travis Ray Carter, who was interviewed by Amy McDonald and Ann Mollengarden in 2012 about his experience. The words of these two thoughtful and courageous men are the basis for the content of “What We Saw.” This piece was performed at L’Chaim 2015.
Written by Deborah Layman
Musical Direction by Alan Goldspiel
Actors: Sam Chalker as Travis Ray Carter, Ward Haarbauer as J. George Mitnick
Alan Goldspiel, Guitar
Cantor Jessica Roskin, Vocalist
L’Chaim 2015, Honoring Brenda and Fred Friedman
Featuring music by Cantor Jessica Roskin, Alan Goldspiel, Gabriel Tajeu, and the Birmingham Community Mass Choir and a Dramatic Reading by members of the Seasoned Performers, “What We Saw-In the Words of the Liberators.”
Ben Karel Benninga, Holocaust Survivor
Ben Benninga, while visiting Birmingham family, spoke on May 12, 2015 at the Homewood Public Library. Born in 1934 in Enschede, a small town in eastern Holland only five miles from the German border, Ben and his family lived a quiet life until the Germans invaded on May 10, 1940. By the time Benninga finished his first year in school in 1941, life for Jews had forever changed. When roundups began, the Benninga family was forced into hiding. All survived because of the sacrifice of others. Benninga will share his family’s wartime experiences including the efforts of the Dutch resistance and the righteous who hid them during the German occupation of Holland.
A Slippery Slope: The Consequences of Hate
Original BHEC Production, January 25, 2015, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
The Seasoned Performers, directed by Wade Harbaauer
Musical direction by Alan Goldspiel
Marilyn Pipkin, Violin
Alan Goldspiel, Guitar
Gabriel Tajeu, Piano and Vocal
Original music by Alan Goldspiel
Traditional music arranged by Alan Goldspiel
Written by Deborah Layman
L’Chaim 2014, Honoring Jeffrey Bayer
Featuring music by the Eric Essix Trio, Cantor Jessica Roskin, and the Birmingham Community Mass Choir; Dramatic Reading “The Slippery Slope,” by members of the Seasoned Performers.
About the Exhibit “Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art”
Darkness into Life Interviews
Interviews with Alabama Holocaust survivors and the artists who created this exhibit,speak about their experiences depicted in the artwork.
This video can be looped to run continuously during the exhibit hours. (55 minutes)
L’Chaim 2012, Honoring Phyllis G. Weinstein
This video was created as part of the L’Chaim 2012 event that also included a special presentation by Nancy Patz, author of “Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat?” and a performance by the Birmingham Community Mass Choir.
Why Should We Remember?
An 8-minute video introduction to the BHEC exhibit, “Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art.”
Survivor Henry Stern, Discovers Surviving Relatives After 50 Years
After fleeing Nazi Germany, Henry J. Stern of Opelika, Alabama arrived in the United States in 1937 with his immediate family. For fifty years he searched for any possible surviving family members. Then in 2004, the impossible happened. Through the miracles of the internet, Henry located family members right here in the United States.
“Imagine,” the Story of Leon Skurko, Birmingham Holocaust Survivor
A student volunteer who visited with Leon Skurko regularly, Mike Dodson became privy to Leon’s amazing life experiences during the Holocaust. As part of a special presentation his senior year, Mike created this memorable piece to honor Leon Skurko.
The Children of the Holocaust
Nine Birmingham, Alabama Holocaust survivors share their stories of despair, endurance, and ultimate survival in Nazi Germany and then their arrival in the United States. The stories themselves are powerful and compelling, but the fact that these are narrated by the survivors themselves makes them an undeniable truth and a testament to the events of the time. This documentary makes use of original photographs and footage taken during the years of the Holocaust, creating a powerful historical record. It is our hope that through this work, these Holocaust survivors will not be forgotten and their experiences will remain a truth that we can all learn from.
“Their lives reflect the past, but their memories are a path to the future.”
– Five Points Productions, Inc.
Jenny Katz and Dorian MacDougall